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The Ashmans

Against the backdrop of Haifa in the 1970s, Eran Tzur relates the dramatic story of the Ashman family. On the face of it, the Ashmans are a typical Israeli family of European extraction: Aaron, the father, emigrated from Poland to pre-state Israel just before World War II. Those relatives who stayed in Europe perished in the Holocaust, except for one, Hanoch Ostrovsky, who also came to Haifa. Hanoch married and had a daughter, then divorced his wife and started a new family. He barely manages on his literature teacher`s salary. In contrast, Aaron Ashman is a successful tax consultant who lives with his wife and three children in a well-appointed house. But behind this faחade of stability lurk dark secrets, lies and sham. The Ashman family is in fact disintegrating: one daughter is a lesbian and will never have a family, another is retarded and will never be independent, and the son Boaz despises his tyrannical, self-important father, rebels and brings disgrace on him. From a psychological standpoint, Boaz – the hero of the novel – is a tragically complex yet riveting figure. A sensitive soul who loves literature and poetry, Boaz cannot live up to his father’s expectations – to settle down and have a family – and is unwilling to adapt to the demands of Israeli society. Instead, he joins up with young people on the fringes of society, struggles with the question of his sexual identity, and dodges military service.

The plot follows the worsening relationship between Boaz and his father, and Boaz’s mental deterioration. At the same time, Hanoch Ostrovsky`s seven year-old son, Eran, contributes a different point of view on the situation, and it is he who witnesses the Ashmans’ great tragedy. For Boaz Ashman, feeling trapped in an impossible situation, shoots himself in his father’s office. Eran will have to cope with the trauma of this event in his adulthood.

Title The Ashmans
Writer's Last Name Tzur
Writer's First Name Eran
Genre Fiction
Publisher (Hebrew) Keter
No. Pages 175pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Beit Ashman